I just found out that one of my best friends from high school passed away. She was only 54. That’s way too young.
I had lost track of her over the years after I went away to college, but since my friendship with her was a profound one, I always wondered what had happened to her.
She had led a troubled life, so the news did not surprise me, but still it was a shock. A part of my adolescence was over.
We are now at the age that things are starting to happen to our friends and family, with the pace escalating as we get older. At first you hear about grandparents, great aunts and distant uncles passing on. When you’re young, this type of news is in the periphery. It doesn’t really affect you. It’s over there.
Then the circle constricts when it’s your turn to deal with aging parents. You rise to the top of the heap when your parents pass, but when your siblings and friends start to go, your world contracts in a fundamental way. It could have been you.
The leaves are starting to fall from the tree; the rooms are starting to get a little smaller.
You never know what’s going to happen to you. You try to live your life, but there’s always something that arrives out of nowhere that wrestles with your foundation. It could be the death of a spouse, your own health issues, financial ruin, or an earthquake, flood, fire or something else.
Unfortunately, we all have to deal with things as we age, and it’s not always pretty.
I know there is something to be learned from anything that we go through. As a writer, I try to weave the challenges into a greater understanding of the human condition. It’s not always easy, but I know that I will extract some kernel of knowledge from everything that I have to endure.
Meanwhile, I just try to cope with the ride despite its bumps, curves and potholes.
What other choice do I have?Read More From Mary
Mary McGrath is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including:Chicken Soup for the Soul (Jan. 2019), Newsweek, Wall St. Journal, Betterafter50.com, Purpleclover.com, LANG Newspaper Group, and Good Housekeeping, Please find her work at www.marymcgrathphotography.com